Earlier this week, most of the priests in the Archdiocese met in Hershey, PA for our annual convocation with our Archbishop Perez. It is usually a good time for all of us to get together, pray together, and have conversations about how we can better our parishes and Archdiocese. It is a two day, three night convocation. This year, the other priests didn’t really ask me about the parish. They asked me about the dog. “How’s the dog?” “Did you sneak the dog in with you?” What is it with this dog?
Putting Yogi aside (well, maybe not aside, because he is having eating problems again and we are moving onto his fourth brand of food now, so there’s the Yogi update), the convocation this year was about how to revitalize our parishes. It honestly seems like we are constantly trying to find ways to revitalize our parishes. New programs to try, committees to form, etc. They also talk about how, with the shrinking number of priests, it is going to be increasingly harder for us to minister to the people. It can be pretty daunting at times.
But it isn’t daunting, in all honesty. Yes, we need to revitalize our parishes, and yes we have a shrinking number of priests, and yes some people don’t come to church. But the Church (capital C), the people of God, the family of God, is what comprises the Church. With Jesus himself as the capstone. The days of having a million priests and nuns all over the place to do everything are over. We aren’t going back. The Church belongs to all of us. The reason why the task before us isn’t daunting is because our Father in heaven is with us, guiding us, bringing us together, strengthening us. What have we to fear?
Visitation Parish belongs to the faithful people of Visitation. We have wonderful, faithful, holy, hard working people here. We can have all the programs and committees in the world, but we can’t forget what is at our core as a parish - a family of believers who are loved by their God and love Him in return.
I invite you all to celebrate our parish by returning to the core of who we are in prayer as we celebrate 40 Hours this week - May 19-21 (you can find all the information in the bulletin). There is nothing else going on around the campus during those dates. No meetings, no sports, no committees - nothing. Just a family of believers in prayer. This is who we are. The close of forty hours will be extra special this year as we try something new - a parish celebration of the Solemnity of the Visitation, with a May procession, crowning of Mary, and a Parish BBQ & pig roast to follow. Thank you for making Visitation the Parish that it is.
May the Lord give you His Peace,